Letter to each legislator calling on them to ask the Regents to postpone vote on fee hikes

Re: Call to Postpone the UC Regents Vote of Fee Hikes.

Dear Legislator,

The UC Board of Regents are scheduled to vote on proposed fee hikes for UC graduate and undergraduate students at their meeting in Los Angeles on Nov. 19. The proposed increase of 32% for undergraduates, coming on top of previous hikes, would mean a total increase of 40% within the last 18 months. These increases are overwhelming to large numbers of students and their families, already burdened by declining educational services at the university that threaten to prolong time to graduation. The new hike would go into immediate effect for the Spring 2010 Semester (UCB) or Winter 2010 Quarter (all other campuses). The precipitous increase of thousands of dollars is expected to force large numbers of students, some very close to graduating, to withdraw from UC or to incur further crippling financial debt.

In the meantime, significant questions have arisen concerning the use of the funds that would result from these fee hikes. We are concerned that some student fee revenue, rather than funding instruction, is diverted to debt service for university construction projects. We are concerned also that a portion of student fees from all campuses subsidize the medical centers at UCSF, UCLA and Davis. Families hard-pressed to pay for their children’s university education would surely be unhappy at the prospect of paying yet more when these moneys may be inappropriately diverted from the educational mission of the university.

The fee hike as planned is an extreme measure and should not be voted upon without transparency, accountability, and fair consideration of other options. None of this has been done, and the impending vote now a week away.

The Council of UC Faculty Associations calls on you and your fellow legislators to ask the UC regents for a postponement. Your intervention will help send a powerful signal to the UC Regents that it must demonstrate fiscal transparency in its response to the budget crisis and that it must protect accessible and affordable higher education for the people of California.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Meister,
President, Council of UC Faculty Associations
Professor of Political and Social Thought, UC Santa Cruz

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